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Alfred J. Garrotto

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· There's More: A Novella of Life and Afterlife

· The Saint of Florenville: A Love Story

· The Wisdom of Les Miserables: Lessons From the Heart of Jean Valjean

· Down a Narrow Alley

· I'll Paint a Sun

· Circles of Stone

· A Love Forbidden

· Finding Isabella

· Battling Writer's Guilt

· The Saint With the Dragon Tattoo

· My Cello Year

· In a Child's Eyes

· Highjacked by a Great Novel

· When All Else Fails

· House of Faith

· A Little Night Music

· Keep It Simple . . . The Way Jesus Did

· O How Will We Ever Pay For All This?

· A Wedding Prayer-Poem

· A Prayer for Esther on Her Birthday

· Earth Mother”

· In Memory of Bill Joyce

· Aging Actor

· Graduation 2003 . . . Wedding 2010

· A Wedding Toast

· Driver's Prayer

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We Both Had Dads Named Joseph
By Alfred J. Garrotto
Last edited: Friday, March 19, 2010
Posted: Friday, March 19, 2010

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Recent articles by
Alfred J. Garrotto

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A reflection on the Feast of St. Joseph (March 19)


Where I live, boisterous St. Patrick's Day parties have a way of spanning most of a week, drowning out today's whispered feast of St. Joseph. Not to be deterred, I honor this day for personal reasons--the least of which is my Italian heritage, with its historical devotion to Mary's husband.This day has personal meaning because my father was Joseph, my mother Josephine. My middle name is Joseph.

The first Scripture reading in the Roman Catholic Liturgy on this day pays homage to Joseph's livelihood in the construction trade. "Are you able to build a house for me to live in?" Yahweh asks in 2 Samuel 7:5. 

It was my reflection on the gospel text from Matthew 1 that shone a light on what has been a shadowed recess in my spiritual understanding. 


Lord, I can imagine your dad, proud and gentle, cradling you in the crook of his well-muscled arm. Did your parents ever share with you how close they came to breaking off their betrothal because of you?

*  *  *

I never thought of it before, Lord, but I wonder if the memory of your father's death contributed to the welling of grief and the tears you shed at your friend Lazarus's tomb . . . "and Jesus wept" (John 11:35). Were you reliving the day when you stood at your newly widowed mother's side, supporting her grief, holding your own in abeyance for her sake? Did  the raising of Lazarus offer you a second chance to get it right, after responding to a different call of divine destiny, when your dad passed?

*  *  *

Lord, you learned from both your mom and dad the importance of "doing God's work God's way," as Sr. Joan Chittister puts it. What a stunning statement! It reminds me that many of us, laity and clergy, old and young, set out to do God's work in the Church, but not all of us do it "God's way," as your dad Joseph did. That is the message for me today. Show me the "Joseph way" of ministry, "God's way."



Web Site The Wisdom of Les Miserables: In Search of Practical Wisdom for Everyday Life

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